Technology and Social Process

By Brian Elliott | Go to book overview

analytical categories such as technology and science, content and context, foreground and background, and internalist and externalist has conditioned historians to set up discrete entities rather than seamless webs, particles rather than waves. One way to transform our cognitive mode is to avoid these traditional categories with their time-worn connotations and resort to neologisms and the abstractions of interaction such as component and system, entity and network, and actor and actor world. The abstractions can be defined by the precise language of the case history and the historical narrative.


Notes and References

Many thanks are due to David Edge and his SAGE colleages for kind permission to reproduce this paper.

1.
Hughes T. P. ( 1983) Networks of Power. Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930, Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press.
2.
See the introduction to Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman (eds.), 1985 The Social Shaping of Technology, Milton Keynes, Bucks., and Philadelphia: Open University Press.
3.
Notable instances persuading historians that there was a two-way street between science and technology were the contributions of Renaissance craftsmen to science by means of instrument building, the development of the steam engine prior to the science of thermodynamics that provided a theory for its performance and the testimony of electric light and power, wireless, airplane and feedback-control inventors and engineers that they forged ahead of science. Elmer Sperry, a pioneer in modern feedback controls, is a case in point: see Thomas Parke Hughes, ( 1971) Elmer Sperry, Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press. Nathan Reingold and Arthur Molella, in their introduction (624-33) to a set of conference papers on "'The interaction of Science and Technology in the Industrial Age'", Technology and Culture, Vol. 12 ( 1976), 621- 742, stress that the eight historians of technology presenting papers rejected the notion of technology as applied science and suggested far more complex interaction and overlapping.
4.
Pinch T.and Bijker W. "'The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts'", in Bijker, T. Hughes and Pinch (eds.), ( 1987) The Social Construction of Technological Systems, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
5.
Barnes B. ( 1982) "The Science-Technology Relationship: A Model and a Query"', Social Studies of Science, 12: pp. 166-72.
6.
Shapin S. "'Social Uses of Science'", ( 1980) in Rousseau G. S. and Porter R. (eds.), The Ferment of Knowledge, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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